As part of the Ghana National Association of the Deaf (GNAD’s) efforts to recognize and promote the Ghanaian Sign Language (GhSL), twenty-nine (29) persons including Deaf and Hearing persons were trained and certified at the Centre for Disability and Rehabilitation Studies, Department of Health Promotion and Disability Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), in Kumasi, as GhSL instructors. The main goal behind this training activity in April 2022 at the KNUST was to empower 20 Sign Language (SL) instructors who will go on to organize GhSL training for the general public.
Deafness In Ghana
In Ghana, 470,737 people have some degree of hearing loss according to the 2021 Population and Housing Census. Out of this figure, it is estimated that over 211,000 are deaf and hard of hearing who choose from a number of sign languages, with the GhSL as the primary mode of communication.
Lack of Knowledge and Understanding of Deafness and Sign Language
The Lack of knowledge and understanding of deafness and SL at all levels can be a serious issue. For instance, research has shown that it can lead to the ostracization of deaf individuals, preventing them from achieving important developmental landmarks such as acquiring a language, especially deaf children. Language is of utmost importance to deaf people, especially deaf children, as it plays a crucial role in their overall development, communication, and educational success. Research shows that more than 90% of deaf children are born to hearing parents and caregivers in Ghana. However, a high number of parents and caregivers of the deaf lack knowledge and understanding of deafness and sign language. Parents’ and societies’ lack of knowledge and understanding of deafness and sign language can create significant challenges for deaf individuals and the deaf community. The lack of knowledge and understanding of sign language among the general public creates communication barriers, by limiting their ability to effectively communicate, express their needs, and regularly engage in social interactions. This can lead to misunderstanding, exclusion, and a sense of isolation for these deaf individuals in various settings: education, healthcare, and employment.
Another key challenge is the limited access to information. Due to lack of knowledge and understanding of sign language, deaf individuals face difficulties accessing important announcements, news broadcasts, educational materials, and public services due to the absence of accessible alternative means of communication. This limits their ability to stay informed and to fully participate in the society. In addition, many deaf individuals often face challenges in accessing essential services due to the lack of knowledge and understanding of sign language. Healthcare, legal and government services may not have qualified sign language interpreters or the right communication alternatives available. This can result in difficulties in accessing essential services, compromising the quality of care and equal access to justice.
The GNAD’s Goal
One of the long-term goals of the GNAD is raising awareness about sign language, promoting inclusion, and providing accessible communication options. GNAD is committed to ensuring that the public is educated on deafness and sign language, improving access to sign language and sign language interpretation, and fostering a more inclusive society that recognizes and values the linguistic and cultural diversity of deaf individuals in Ghana. A significant step towards this is the provision of the two-week intensive training of Sign language pedagogical skills to twenty-nine (29) SL instructors selected from across the country. These 29 SL instructors are made up of twenty (20) deaf and nine (9) hearing individuals.
Contact Information of the 29 Ghanaian Sign Language Instructors
Are you a parent/ family member, a teacher, a friend of the deaf or a sign language lover? Are you looking for someone to teach you or looking for where you can learn the Ghanaian sign language? Then, worry no more. The opportunity is now available. Here are the profile and photographs of twenty-eight (28) out of the 29 trained and recognized sign language instructors you can contact for excellent sign language tutoring. Check out their locations and contact information below: